For this reason (Christ) is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15)
There is a lot of confusion in the Church today. It is popular to say that one is “spiritual” but not “religious”. So often we focus on ex-ternals, when we should be focusing on e-ternals. Too many are choosing to leave the Church without ever having delved into its depths. There is a deplorable lack of catechesis in the adult faithful. It is as if many are content to swim in a shallow pool and just lap up the dried flakes cast onto the surface by an unknown hand. The Church has so much more to offer! The Church is not incidental to the life of the Christian—it is absolutely necessary!
In his book “Sacramental Theology” Kurt Stasiak tells us that “if we may consider Christ as the primary or fundamental sacrament of God, then the Church is the primary or fundamental sacrament of Christ.” So, just as God chose his Son to make himself visible to his children, Christ chose his Church to perpetuate his presence on earth. He gave us the sacraments so that we might remain united to him and receive the grace we need to stay the course of faith, even while we are being buffeted on every side. In other words, when Christ calls us to follow him, he provides an armored car in which we are to journey—the Church he himself established. He did not give us the Church to tie us down, but to keep us safe until we reach our everlasting home.
I have said before that it is no accident that souls are being called to a life of penance in these days. The world is in great need of penance said the angel at Fatima. The Church is under attack on all sides, as in St. John Bosco’s dream. God has never fought a battle on earth without a small band of insignificant souls, men, women, and children who are well aware of their own weakness and so place all their trust in him. The weak, the lowly, the sick, the marginalized—God uses the weak to shame the strong. He uses a humble Woman to shame the greatest angel that was ever created and his entire army.
There is an epic battle building. But those who put their trust in Jesus Christ will not be shamed. If you want to read a Scripture passage that will give you great hope, read again the story of the three young men in the fiery furnace in Daniel Chapter 3. King Nebuchadnezzar commanded them to worship the idol and threatened to burn them alive if they refused. They replied, “If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up.” I really think this is a great script to memorize. Who knows what will be demanded of us in the days to come? Let us pray that we will not be put to the test. But if we are, O God, may your name be glorified in all we say and do. Amen!